- Global survey of Grant Thornton International finds 1 in 4 senior business roles now held by women but pace of change is glacial
- Proportion of senior roles held by women increased 1% from 2016, but up only 6% since start of research 13 years ago
- Countries with highest proportion of senior roles held by women: Russia (47%), Indonesia (46%), Estonia (40%), Poland (40%) and Philippines (40%)
- Countries with lowest proportion of senior roles held by women: Japan (7%), Argentina (15%), India (17%), Germany (18%), Brazil (19%) and United Kingdom (19%)
- Proportion of senior business roles held by women in APAC rises from 23% in 2016 to 25% in 2017
- Emerging APAC rises from 26% in 2016 to 29% in 2017, while developed APAC remains static at 13%
- However, percentage of businesses with no women in senior management across APAC also rises, from 31% in 2016 to 35% in 2017.
On International Women’s Day, a new report based on Grant Thornton International’s annual survey of 5,500 businesses in 36 economies reveals that the proportion of senior business roles held by women in APAC has risen from 23% in 2016 to 25% in 2017.
However, the findings show that progress remains slow. The figure for 2017 is an increase of just one percent from 2016, and the proportion has only improved six percent in the 13 years since the research began.
The percentage of businesses with no women in senior management across APAC has also risen, from 31% in 2016 to 35% in 2017.
As the issue of uncertainty dominates the business agenda in 2017, Grant Thornton’s report, Women in Business: New perspectives on risk and reward, highlights the importance of gender diversity in senior teams tasked with managing risk.
Mrs Nguyen Thi Vinh Ha, Deputy General Director and Advisory Partner of Grant Thornton Vietnam said: “This year businesses across APAC have increased the proportion of senior roles held by women. However, we are still only halfway there, and with the percentage of businesses with no women in senior management also rising it feels as if we’re taking one step forward and one step back. This is a real concern for business growth as it suggests we aren’t maximising the potential out there.”
Globally, Grant Thornton’s data shows developing regions continue to lead the charge on diversity with developed economies lagging behind. Eastern Europe performs best, with 38% of senior roles held by women in 2017 and just 9% of businesses with no women in senior management. Meanwhile the MINT economies (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) saw the most improvement, with the proportion of senior roles held by women rising from 24% in 2016 to 28% in 2017 and the percentage of businesses with no women in senior management falling from 36% in 2016 to 27% in 2017.
This is a significant contrast to the major economies of the G7, which have remained static at 22% of senior roles held by women and 39% of businesses with no women in senior management. Developed APAC was bottom of the table with just 13% of senior roles held by women and 54% of businesses with no women in senior management, the worst performance of any region on both measures.
Mr Nguyen Chi Trung, Managing Partner of Grant Thornton Vietnam, commented: “The data for major economies is discouraging. The reasons for this lack of progress are many and varied, and they depend on the culture of individual businesses and the broader culture of the country or region in which they sit. However, this year we encountered a concerning sense that the issue has plateaued, as companies perhaps assume the diversity challenge has been dealt with. The evidence tells us this is not the case.
“Companies today need to be more productive, more innovative and in many ways more open if they are to grow. Diversity will be key to their success. Those that remain closed are putting themselves at risk of not tapping in to their full potential, and losing access to diversity of thinking.”
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Notes to editors
The Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) provides insight into the views and expectations of more than 10,000 businesses per year across 36 economies. This unique survey draws upon 22 years of trend data for most European participants and 11 years for many non-European economies.
IBR is a survey of both listed and privately held businesses. The data for this release is drawn from interviews with 5,506 chief executive officers, managing directors, chairmen or other senior executives from all industry sectors conducted between October and December 2016.